We speak to Sarah McDonald, 20, a Student at Bolton University who has been volunteering in the Youth Club as a Sports Development Volunteer!
What is your volunteering role in BLGC? I am doing a Sports Development Volunteering Placement as part of my course at Bolton University, and have been volunteering for about 6 months now.
How did you first hear of Bolton Lads & Girls Club? Joanne (the previous Volunteer Coordinator) came in and did a presentation at my University.
What is your normal volunteering session like?
My main two sports are football and hockey, and then I also put on some team building games for the young people. Depending on what the game is, I usually try to keep it not too structured, especially if it’s hockey, just make sure they have the right equipment, know the rules, and have fun playing!
What do you specifically enjoy about volunteering with BLGC? The best part is the kids, helping them out, especially because I want to teach in the future. This gives me great experience in how to deal with kids for that!
What support do you get from the club? If I need anything I just go speak to Nick (BLGC Sports Development Officer) and I know I can always ask Nick to get involved in other things, such as helping out referring or whatever.
Why did you decide to donate your time to the club? To help out as much as I can. I try to come in to volunteer as much as I can. As well as the Youth Club, I’ve been volunteering at Hacken Lane every Tuesday and Friday Night with Tom (BLGC Football Development Officer), helping coaching the girls football team. It’s really great to see more numbers starting to come in, but it’s still quite difficult as some of the girls are 12years old, whilst some are 4, and they all have to train the same team, as we don’t have enough to split them up, so we have to adapt the games to suit all ages. I also want to get more experience as I want to be a teacher. I’ve learnt a lot, especially about teaching behaviours management and speaking to different age groups, as speaking to Juniors and Seniors needs a different approach, as well as taking responsibility for their safety
How does volunteering fit into your life? It’s quite a good balance, its nothing too formal, I just come in when I’m free and I can fit in around university and my sports matches. The only issue I’ve had is I go home in the University holidays, so I had to think about how that would effect when I can do my hours for my placement. I would just recommend starting as soon as you can and not leaving it to the last minute!
What has been your most rewarding experience?
I think it has to be taking the Senior girls over to Hacken Lane for a warm up training session, before they joined a special session with the BLGC Ladies. (The BLGC Ladies are a group of inspiring women who have won multiple Cups in their Division One League games, and are amazing role models to our young people.)
Why should other people get involved with the club?
They should get involved because it gives you great experience, you can get really involved, and really feel like you’re making a difference to people’s lives. It may seem really insignificant to you, but the young people really appreciate it, even if they don’t always show it!
Would you recommend volunteering with BLGC?
Yes, because there are so many ways to get involved. Even if you aren’t interested in sports you can also get involved in crafts, or outreach; there’s something for everyone.
Thanks Sarah, you’ve been a fantastic volunteer and we can’t wait to see you back after the Summer!